Flappy Jam Launched Following Controversy, In Support Of Flappy Bird Developer

flappy bird

The rise and fall of Flappy Bird was a strange one for indie gaming. This past week, the challenging little mobile game about navigating an uncoordinated bird through an obstacle course of pipes, and racking up a high score in the process, saw more fame and fortune than its developer, Dong Nguyen, had ever anticipated. In the shadow of the game’s rising fandom, however, were some who saw Nguyen as a cheat, his game a gimmicky ploy to turn a huge profit over something that allegedly cost so little.

Lack of context, a misunderstanding of the developer’s original, modest intentions and general viral internet hysteria soon turned to rage about the mobile market, and about Nguyen himself.

It’s a sad day when an artist is lambasted for nothing more than creating something for others to enjoy, and this certainly isn’t the first time it’s happened. It seems to be the first time it’s happened out of sheer popularity, however, and this time, the death threats, the suicide threats and the non-stop harassment from press, despite his pleas for them to leave him alone, was too much for the developer.

Last Saturday, Nguyen resolved to remove Flappy Bird from mobile app stores, adding, “I cannot take this anymore.”

This is a peculiar story, especially coming on the heels of last week’s Candy Jam, a game jam dedicated to the absurdity of unfair trademarks and freedom of expression. As game developer Sophie Houlden points out:

The Flappy Jam

In response to the Flappy Bird controversy, game developer Ivano Palmentieri has launched Flappy Jam, a game jam dedicated to creating “insanely hard, almost unplayable” games in the same vein as Flappy Bird.

“Hate must not win,” reads the jam’s site.

flappy jam

While I can never criticize a game jam for encouraging others to make games, I can’t help but wonder if Nguyen really wants or needs this. According to his Twitter, while Nguyen certainly considers Flappy Bird a success, “it also ruins my simple life,” he says. “So now I hate it.” The jam is a nice gesture, but do we (does he) really need dozens of Flappy Bird clones being flaunted around “in support of” a developer who has only ever asked for some peace and quiet from this entire ordeal?

Of course, the people running the jam and participating most likely did not partake in any harassment against Nguyen, and their intentions are undoubtedly positive. I just wonder if the community should be having another kind of discussion about what took place last week, instead of just slapping a bandage in the form of a game jam on top of it. No hard feelings against participants who just want an excuse to make a game (who wouldn’t?), but in terms of the event’s healing properties, I’m a little skeptical.

On the other hand, maybe someone should give these rabid, suicidal Flappy Bird fans something to play until they figure out you can still launch the app if it’s installed on your phone.

If you’d like to participate in the Flappy Jam, it’s currently being hosted on Palmentieri’s website. The deadline for submissions is February 24th.

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